I found this beautiful feather, I don’t know where, I don’t know when. I recently started wearing it on my hat where it has been frequently admired by others.

I am grateful to the bird that grew it and the happenstance that lead to it being dropped and my finding it. When others have commented on its beauty and asked what type of bird it came from, I have ignorantly supposed that it came from a Blue Jay.

A friend suggested on Monday that that would be one hell of a big Blue Jay and that I might want to do a little more research. This morning I decided to do just that.

Using the powers of the Internet, I found The Feather Atlas of North American birds at the US Fish & Wildlife Service. They have a pretty good key system. I cannot be absolutely certain, but among the 12 options presented, a secondary wing feather of the male Mallard seems the most likely.

I had earlier been captivated by the truth of colour revealed on the reverse side of the feather. It is, of course, yellow. The wonder of physics and its expression in biology. Life and the universe are truly amazing.